Last night, 24 September, as pro-democracy demonstrators gathered outside parliament house, the opposition’s six motions to amend the constitution (see this article on charter amending) was postponed by the votes of 423 to 255.
Once again, the power of the 250 junta-appointed senators was the difference. The parliament will review the motions in one month.
Amidst boos and jeers by protestors, the lawmakers made their way out of parliament house last night. Meanwhile, trending on Twitter is #RepublicofThailand. At the time of this writing, the hashtag has over 700,000 tweets.
Here’s are some of the quotes posted in English:
“Sovereignty belongs to the people. I want this country, which is my hometown, to develop in a good way. People have a better quality of life. They are equal regardless of gender, education, social life. #RepublicofThailand”
“WE NEED CHANGE!
No more kingdom of thailand
We need #RepublicofThailand”
“We want to elect the president. #RepublicofThailand”
“Where is the democracy in Thailand? Thailand is a democratic country, but there is no such thing called democracy in the areas that are controlled by coup.”
“Please help us to spread this to the world. Retweet could help a lot. #whatshappeninginthailand #RepublicofThailand”
“Welcome to the Revolution #RepublicofThailand”
“There will be no more reformation, only revolution is needed now! #RepublicofThailand”
“Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes
On 23 September, House Speaker Chuan Leekpai delayed the parliament’s submission, the human rights organization iLaw’s 100,732 signatures from Thai citizens calling for a referendum to amend the constitution. His reason was that the signatures must first be examined for authenticity. By law, 50,000 signatures are required.
Regardless, any motion to amend the constitution or hold a referendum required the consent of 84, or one-third, of the 250 junta-appointed senators.
With the constitution designed so that the country cannot move without the junta-appointed senators’ consent and Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s continuing refusal for an open dialogue with the protestors, it is not out of the question that Thailand’s pro-democracy protests may become more radical.